If you’ve ever roved around Facebook’s developer forums, you may have noticed that — aside from being loaded with complaints and bug reports — they’re pretty basic. There’s nothing wrong with them per se, but they feel like a pretty generic forum install, and not a hub for developers on one of the web’s most popular web platforms.
Today, Facebook is announcing how it’s going to fix the situation: it’s abandoning its old forums, which it says are “showing their age”, and launching a custom site on Stack Overflow, the Q&A hub that’s very popular with programmers (and is loaded with helpful content). You can find the new site at facebook.stackoverflow.com.
The benefits from the swap are obvious. Stack Overflow has a robust reputation system, a more structured Q&A platform, and is generally easier to sift through.
Stack Exchange is the parent company of Stack Overflow, which is one of a network of 60+ Q&A portals. In a post discussing the news, Stack Exchange Chief of Staff Alex Miller writes that this the Facebook launch also marks the introduction of a new feature for the platform, which allows for the creation of custom mini-sites.
But facebook.SO isn’t just a sub-domain, it’s an entirely new feature set that we’ve been considering and working on for months. Ever since launching, we’ve gotten requests to start dedicated communities for niche programming topics, but we’ve always been hesitant to do so for fear of balkanizing the great community we already have. So we came up with a solution that provides the best of both worlds. We can now create a mini-site by selecting relevant tags (in this case, anything Facebook related) and grouping together just the content from those tags. When you visit a mini-site, you’ll see only the content from those tags. Not only will you be able to see only questions related to Facebook, but the reputation on the user ranking pages will also only show reputation earned on questions tagged Facebook.